Do you love the taste of beer but want to cut back on drinking alcohol? Or maybe you’re pregnant and can’t have any alcohol? Whatever your reason, non-alcoholic beer is a great alternative! In this blog post, we will explain how non-alcoholic beer is made. There are several ways to approach crafting a non-alcoholic beer, some more complex than others. Read on to learn more!
What is non-alcoholic beer?
Before we get into the process of how non-alcoholic beer is made, it is good to understand how it is defined in the industry. Non-alcoholic beers are beers that contain 0.5% or less alcohol by volume.
Some non-alcoholic beers are completely alcohol free, but others contain trace amounts. The trace amounts of alcohol are due to certain brewing processes and also similar to alcohol content found in very ripe fruit.
How is non-alcoholic beer made?
Non-alcoholic beer is currently being made in one of two ways: either by removing the alcohol after creating an alcoholic beer, or by preventing the creation of alcohol during the brewing process. There are various ways to achieve both of these, and we’ll explain some of them below.
In order to limit or prevent fermentation in the beer, there are two common methods.
Typically, in a modified recipe, the wort (unfermented beer) is prepared with less fermentable sugars than in a standard one. The yeast won’t be able to produce significant amounts of alcohol with lower levels of sugars. Additionally, during mashing, fermentation will only occur when the enzymes that are present are given the proper conditions. Alcohol-free beer can be created by adjusting the temperature and sugar levels in these zones.
Arrested fermentation is another method becoming a very popular among crafter breweries for creating non-alcoholic beer. Before they can start producing alcohol in high quantities, yeasts are removed, and alcohol is never formed or the alcohol produced is very low. The yeast may also be inactivated by rapidly cooling the brewing beer to very cold temperatures.
Fermentation is the result of yeast being added to the wort. Another way to prevent fermentation is to not add yeast at all, and some companies use this technique to create non-alcoholic beers. This is a straightforward method to produce completely alcohol free beer (0.0% ABV). However, this process frequently produces sweeter characteristics that not everyone loves in their beers.
There is more than one way to remove alcohol (dealcoholization) after crafting beer. It requires special equipment, so it’s more common for large breweries to use this method. Dealcoholization can be achieved through various methods, such as heat-based processes and membrane filtration. Some common examples include vacuum distillation and reverse osmosis.
One common way to remove alcohol from alcoholic beers is by heating beer, since it has a lower boiling point than water. Unfortunately, heating beer to such high temperatures can affect the delicate flavors.
Vacuum Distillation is similar the the above method, but instead of very high temperatures, it only heats the beer enough to burn off the alcohol.
Reverse osmosis is a brewing method that uses complex filtration equipment to separate the elements, including alcohol from the rest of the beer. After that comes a two-step process of re-introducing beer with alcohol to reached the desired amount, then diluting it with water to reach the desired volume.
The benefits of drinking non-alcoholic beers
Drinking non-alcoholic beer isn’t just a great way to enjoy the taste of beer while controlling your alcohol intake. It’s possible that drinking non-alcoholic beer comes with a number of benefits. For starters, it is lower in calories than most alcoholic beers, making it a great choice for people who are watching their weight.
Additionally, non-alcoholic beer contains electrolytes, which can help with hydration – Olympic athletes have even used it for this purpose! If you want to learn more, read about the possible health benefits in Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Good For You?
Tips for enjoying alcohol free beer
Aside from the possible health benefits, consuming non-alcoholic beer is a lot like consuming alcoholic beer. If you drink beer because you like the taste of beer, then drink non-alcoholic beer too -it’s just another way to enjoy new beers you haven’t tried yet.
Also, if you tend to reach for low alcohol beer like a session IPA, trying non-alcoholic beers is a no-brainer. It’s a great choice any time you would drink beer, but better – think weekday work lunch. Beer without the drowsiness that alcohol causes.
Recipes for Alcohol Free Beers
After testing mocktail recipes with non-alcoholic beer, a favorite and refreshing option is the Non-Alcoholic Grapefruit Shandy with Rightside Brewing.
Now that you know how non-alcoholic beer is made, why not give it a try? Athletic Brewing IPA is one of our favorites and a great place to start. Cheers!